Wheeling Park Takes Next Step As Patriots Trounce Brooke 11-1
WELLSBURG – The season that began with such promise 1,000 miles away in sunny Florida in March, came to an untimely end at home in the rain on an overcast day in May.
Wheeling Park plated at least one run in five innings and it jumped to a 6-0 lead en route to an 11-1 victory against the Bruins in six innings Tuesday in the West Virginia Class AAA Region One, Section One final.
“It’s not the way I envisioned it, but that’s baseball,” Brooke (19-9) coach Ron Ujcich said. “We were not efficient. We stranded runners. We did not hit the ball early. We did not pressure on them. We got behind. That is the nature of the game.”
Wheeling Park (17-6) advanced to the regional semifinals Tuesday at Parkersburg.
“I think the difference was Brooke has good players, but we have great players,” Wheeling Park coach Mike McLeod said. “They were out of players, but we had one thoroughbred left. I was 1,000-percent sure we were going to win.”
Michael Grove and Justice Jackson combined to lead the way for Wheeling Park.
Grove recorded a victory as he struck out eight without walking a batter. Offensively, he helped his own cause with a single, a double and three RBI.
“He is a Division-I pitcher,” McLeod said. “It was nice being able to have him in our back pocket.”
Jackson, meanwhile, reached base all four times he was at the plate, hit a three-run home run, scored three runs and stole a base.
“He is another college player,” McLeod said. “We love that he is a Patriot. We love that he is wearing red, white and blue. He is a senior. All of our seniors have led from the start of the season.”
The Patriots totaled 13 hits.
Also for Wheeling Park, Chalmer Moffett collected three base hits and an RBI, Isaac Turner and Zane Hummel each tallied a double and an RBI and John Massey ended the game with a run-scoring single with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
Finally, Daniel Baciak and Grove Calvert each contributed two base hits.
Brooke used three pitchers as Aaron Walker started and took a loss. He struck out two and walked one in his 2 1/3 innings on the mound.
The Bruins were limited to three hits – two singles and a Chad Harper double.
“I don’t think we helped ourselves,” Ujcich said. “Give credit to Wheeling Park. Congratulations to them. I wish them the best of the luck the rest of the way. They are a good team.
“When you play a good team, you have to do everything right to beat them. We didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to do that. We had some errors. We made some mental and physical errors. We put ourselves in some tough situations. They are a strong team.”